Aral Sea, Uzbekistan

The Aral Sea: the tragedy of the drying sea

The Aral Sea… Today, the name of the lake is related with the environmental disaster. But how did it look 60 years ago? The Aral Sea is located on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Prior to the shallowing, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake in the world. It had ports, fish plants and fishing boats floated on the Aral Sea. Up to the 80es of the 20th century it was inhabited by 34 species of fish, 20 of which had marketable value. During its history the Aral Sea has shrunk out several times as evidenced by the numerous remains of flora and fauna found in the dried bed of the Aral Sea. Various expeditions to the study of the Aral Sea were carried out. Scientists suppose that in the middle of the Cenozoic Era (21 million years ago) the Aral Sea was connected to the Caspian Sea, but then the rivers dried up, separating two seas apart.

aral sea

The first studies of the Aral Sea were conducted by the Russian expedition of A. Butakov in 1849; a year later the Hydrographic Department of the Marine Department of the Russian Empire published the first map of the Aral Sea. And three years later the first steamer set sail in the Aral Sea. The industrial fishing in the Aral Sea was started by well-known Russian merchants Lapshin, Ritkin, Krasilnikov, Makeev, who organized large fishing unions later. In the 1950s, the Aral Sea took about 68 thousand km²; it had the length of 426 km, the width of 284 km and the maximum depth of 68 m. The Aral Sea began to shallow in the 60s, when the water from rivers flowing into the sea was taken to the irrigation works. In 1989, the Aral Sea separated into two isolated reservoirs: the Small Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and the Large Aral Sea in Uzbekistan.

By the early 2000s, the absolute water level in the sea went down to 31 m, which is 22 m lower than the initial level recorded in the late 1950s. In 2001, the South (Large) Aral Sea was divided into western and eastern parts. In 2003, the surface area of the Aral Sea was about a quarter of the original, and the volume of sea water was about 10%. Today, instead of the former deep sea, there is a new sand and saline Aralkum desert with the total area of 38 000 km².

Map of Aral Sea

$8,000 Central Asia Tour by Road

Central Asia Tour by Road

Central Asia Private Tours 0 review(s) 20 days
$6,200 Central Asia Ethno-cultural Tour
$6,000 Central Asia in 2 Weeks

Central Asia in 2 Weeks

Central Asia Private Tours 0 review(s) 14 days
$5,000 Capitals of Central Asia

Capitals of Central Asia

Central Asia Private Tours 0 review(s) 12 days
$3,000 Central Asian Express Tour

Central Asian Express Tour

Central Asia Private Tours 0 review(s) 8 days
$8,000 Five Stans

Five Stans

Central Asia Private Tours 0 review(s) 23 days
$3,500 Central Asia Destinations

Central Asia Destinations

Central Asia Private Tours 0 review(s) 15 days
$6,000 Central Asia on Silk Road

Central Asia on Silk Road

Central Asia Private Tours 0 review(s) 18 days
$2,600 Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Group Tour
$1,600 Uzbekistan-Tajikistan Group Tour
$3,500 Central Asia Group Tour

Central Asia Group Tour

Central Asia Tours Group tours 0 review(s) 14 days
$1,500 Trecking Tour to Ala-Kul Lake
$1,500 Tour list image
$1,500 Tour to Khan-Tengri and Pobeda
$1,000 Kyrgyzstan Winter Tour

Kyrgyzstan Winter Tour

Mountain Tours Kyrgyzstan 0 review(s) 6 days
$120 Ala-Archa Gorge and Bishkek Tour

Ala-Archa Gorge and Bishkek Tour

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$150 Uzgen Tour

Uzgen Tour

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$150 Tour to Around Osh

Tour to Around Osh

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$100 Bishkek Tour

Bishkek Tour

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$220 Shamsy Gorge Tour

Shamsy Gorge Tour

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$170 Tour to Issyk-Ata and Burana

Tour to Issyk-Ata and Burana

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$100 Alamedin Gorge Tour

Alamedin Gorge Tour

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$150 Belagorka Gorge Tour

Belagorka Gorge Tour

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$100 Ala-Archa Gorge Tour

Ala-Archa Gorge Tour

Day Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$1,300 Kyrgyzstan Biking Tour

Kyrgyzstan Biking Tour

Adventure Tours Kyrgyzstan 0 review(s) 6 days
$1,200 Kyrgyzstan Rafting Tour

Kyrgyzstan Rafting Tour

Adventure Tours Kyrgyzstan 0 review(s) 5 days
$300 Kyrgyzstan River Rafting Tour